Monday, December 12, 2011

{insert song lyric lovin' on New York here}... Vol. I

We don't do "babymoons."  

If there's one word in the Modern Preggo Dictionary that makes me visibly cringe, it's that one. 

What we do do are super fun and festive mini-holidays to New York City that just so happen to occur immediately prior to "you can still fly" cutoff date!  

Let's recap, shall we?

The Chambers.  We flew into LGA on Thursday evening and just had time to check out our temporary digs before meeting L & D for a late dinner.  The Chambers came highly recommended by the Adams-Hanger Camp... and those kiddos don't mess around!  If you're looking for a centrally located hotel in Midtown {right between 5th & 6th on 56th... 3 blocks from the Park, walking-distance to the Theater District and Rockefeller Center, and steps away from fancypants shopping on 5th} with a boutique-y feel and a super attentive staff, this place is para ti.  Also? Best. Rainforest. Shower. Ever. 

Babbo.  After checking in, we cabbed it over to Babbo in the Village for a truly exception dinner with one of my favorites and her beau. I've been wanting to eat at Babbo for years, and, given the heartache one suffers to procure a reservation, I'm guessing a lot of people are in the same boat!  We actually had a table at another Batali establishment {Lupa... which I hear is lovely!}, but L & D took the initiative and arrived at Babbo around 9... Our party was seated by 9:45, right as E and I walked in the door!  Moral: Babbo saves a few tables for walk-ins, and, if you're willing to eat on Euro Time, you may very well get lucky!  You might also see Neil Patrick Harris and his adorable husband noshing it up at the bar... I was tempted to throw out a hearty, "suit up!" but thankfully controlled myself.

Babbo was all I hoped it would be and more... so scrumptious and posh {did I really just say "posh?"}, but unpretentious.  If you're curious {I always am!}, the four of us enjoyed...
  • grilled octopus 
  • baby wild arugula salad {with the most ridiculously huge strips of shaved parmesan I've ever had the pleasure of meeting}
  • goat cheese "sformato" {this was my selection and it occurred to me after I ordered that it was highly possibly unpastuerized... I took one bite and decided not to care - it was insanity.  And would Mario Batali really serve baby-poison-cheese?  I think not.}
  • mint love letters
  • chianti-stained papparadelle with wild boar ragu
  • housemade orecchiette with sweet sausage and rapini
  • barbaqued skirt steak with eggplant alla piastra
Balthazar.  And one great meal follows another.  After our late supper, we called it a night so as to rise bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning.  We awoke ready to tackle the City... and breakfast.  I was a bit too slow on the uptake to reserve Balthazar for Saturday brunch, so we settled for Friday breakfast.  The brasserie was oh-so-festive in its Christmas finery, and I was impressed with the hostess' lack of stank-eye when we arrived nearly 20 minutes late {we'll blame the directionally-challenged spouse for that one... which, sadly, is yours truly}.  We started with their homemade doughnuts {yummm...and I am  not a doughnut fan in general} and cappuccino... and moved right along to a couple delicious egg dishes {buckwheat crepes with scrambled eggs, ham, and gruyere for me and scrambled eggs with toast and hasbrowns for E}. Deee-lightful!  Not so joyous?  An unflattering photo to start off our pictorial tour:
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Breakfast at Balthazar

Shopping in SoHo.  Since we were in the neighborhood {and E had never explored NYC before}, we meandered around SoHo for a good while, flitting in and out of little treasure troves.  Kate's Paperie was a favorite, for obvious reasons... Even E found some pretty paper he liked! 
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E found him some Pretty Paper

We also poked around Giggle... and by "poked around," I mean we picked up practically everything in the store, cooed like imbeciles, and tried to imagine what our lives will look like in 2 months.  My, my... shopping outingss sure have changed! 

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We stopped for a sweet snack at Vesuvio Bakery {chocolate cookie for E / homemade marshmellow for moi} before hopping the C train back up towards Herald Square...

Empire State Building.  After peering in the Macy's windows, we walked on up to the Empire State Building.  Like I said, this was E's second time in NYC {the first being a super-quick, no-time-for-sights visit} and we had Big Items to check off our Big Apple / Big Tourist List!  A lot has changed since I last zipped up those Empire State elevators... apparently there are all kinds of advance tickets and packages available for purchase to avoid the lines.  Since we didn't get that memo, we opted for some sort of Fast Track tickets that were astronomically priced but ensured a speedy trip to the top.  The Fast Track also included a cheeseball virtual rollercoaster.  In the security line for this "attraction," a very kind employee told us I wouldn't be allowed to ride the ride and should just scurry on ahead of the lines... and bestowed on us the cheaper, "we totally planned this and paid in advance 2 weeks ago" ticket.  Clueless Pregnant Gal, for the win!  

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The Empire State Building was... ya know, the Empire State Building.  Super tall, loads of people taking crummy photos of fantastic views, bad gift shop.  But! We crossed it off the list!

NY Public Library. We decided to walk back up towards our hotel to take in all the hustle and bustle of 5th Ave.  On our way, we stopped into the New York Public Library to pat the lions and check out the seasonal decor.  Turns out, its the Centennial Celebration of the NYPL, and there was an incredible free exhibit featuring rare treasures from the archives just past the lobby.  We spent a good hour exploring the cases {displaying Malcolm X's Koran, first drafts with author's notations of Native Son and Huck Finn, anti-Nazi literature covertly printed on the back of seed packets, James Audobon's rough sketches... just to name a few}... talk about stumbling on to a real gem!

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No cameras allowed in the exhibit...  the lobby's Christmas Tree will have to suffice

Fifth Avenue. After consuming a little brain food, we were ready for full-on commercialism!  The stores were a bit crowded for our tastes, but we enjoyed the extravagant Christmas lights and window displays.  I loved the moving tableau combined with drawings from patients at Children's Hospital at Lord & Taylor. 

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Rockefeller Center.  Our final stop before resting back at the hotel pre-theater was Rockefeller Center.  I distinctly remember ice-skating on that rink during the Blizzard of '93.  My Mama J and Daddy Jim took me to New York for the first time at the age of 10, and I've been smitten ever since.  I've seen Rockefeller Center many times, but never decorated for the holiday season.  The tree really is amazing - to look at it makes you feel like a goofy kid again. 

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Phew.  This was not supposed to be a two-parter, but my down comforter {and, unfortunately, Monday morning} calls!  Tune in next time for politically incorrect show tunes, wine in sippy cups, and more photos of my heinously unattractive maternity coat!  

13 comments:

  1. Going to NYC at Christmas time is high on my list of things to do. It looks like you all had a great trip!

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  2. I'm so thrilled that you two loved that hotel as much as we do!

    You look adorable, no matter what you say... and that dinner sounds divine! Remember that last-minute-cancelled NYC trip I told you about? It was going to involve Babbo as well. Next time, next time. (I'll see if I can Tweet NPH in advance.)

    There's a Giggle in DC, you know... (Well, one of those 'hoods where it's DC on one side of the street and Maryland on the other. Either way, just a stone's throw from here!) Just sayin'...

    I hope you bought those Fuck You cards.

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  3. It looks like you had a great time! What a fab "mini-holiday"!

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  4. I laughed out loud when I saw your husband's favorite paper at Kate Paperie. I have a feeling that my husband would have loved it as well!

    Sounds like a great trip!

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  5. I LOVE your travel posts, you do exact things we'd do! That exhibit at the Library sounds amazing, as does all the food!

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  6. i love everything about this!! thanks for the heads up last week! :)

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  7. mmmmmmm....Babbo...I could go for some of that right now.

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  8. SO fun!!! I LOVE NYC during the holidays!

    Balthazar is a favorite. Brent took me on top of the Empire State Building to propose and then didn't, haha.

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  9. I've never been to NYC, but it's on my bucket list! Also adding to the bucket list, owning a set of stationary that says 'Fuck You.' Please tell me y'all bought those!

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  10. Fun!! Whenever I visit my little sis in NYC, Kate's Paperie is one of my destinations. I love that place so much!

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  11. LOVE NYC. My mom and I did a girls' trip a couple of Decembers ago and it's the best time of the year to visit.

    Also, call me crazy, but I like the maternity coat. A lot.

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  12. The first time I ever kissed my husband was on the steps of the New York Public Library. I go past there at least once a week now, and it never fails to make me stop and think about what a lucky girl I am, because of my husband and because of my wonderful city. So glad you made it in there. A bookish baby could use a set of those lion bookends, you know....also, next time, head up Madison for Laduree macarons (get there early before the good flavors run out) and buy Quesita one tiny little thing from Bonpoint. Stupidly expensive and completely beautiful.

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  13. Love this! Nothing like New York City in December. We're not going to make it up to visit my brother this year, and I will so miss it. We'll just have to make up for it in the spring! Can't wait to introduce Sam to The Big Apple.

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happy little comments!